Derek Jeter has taken his final at bat. He played his last game at shortstop and threw one more out to first. He rounded the bases and crossed home plate for the last time. He finished his last post-game interview, and left the locker room for good. Throughout the season, and especially this week, Jeter accepted the praise and admiration of fans and players from around the country. One thing he always managed to say was thank you to the coaches, players, and fans that followed his career.
For 20 years he gave us the best in baseball. We watched him burst onto the scene as a young shortstop. We saw a brilliant rookie season that certainly was the sign of more to come. We cheered for his immediate rise to fame, winning championships in his first few seasons.
Now it’s our turn to say thank you.
Thank you for listening to your parents, for working hard in school and striving to be a exemplary kid on and off the field. Thank you for always wanting to play for the New York Yankees. Thank you for working tirelessly to achieve that goal.
Thank you for not giving up after early struggles at the plate. Thank you for looking at a minor league season with 56 errors and vowing to improve. Thank you for sticking with everything you were taught while you made your way up to the major leagues.
Thank you for playing your game of baseball. While it seemed everyone else in the 1990s was obsessed with home runs, you were content slapping line drives to right field. In a golden age of shortstops, you may not have had the flashiest stats, but you rose above the competition in your own way. Thank you for the jump-throw, the hustle plays, the stolen bases, and the wins.
Thank you for playing the game the right way. Thank you for avoiding performance-enhancing drugs, and instead working as hard as you could to succeed. Thank you for starting every season ready to compete for a championship, and for arriving at every game ready to win. Thank you for being a leader off the field, for never putting yourself in a negative headline, for representing yourself, your family, and your city proudly. Thank you for the Turn 2 foundation, for wanting to make a difference in your community, and for being a role model and positive example for all.
Thank for honorably serving as Captain of the New York Yankees. Thank you for appreciating that it is more than just a title. Thank you for your leadership on and off the field. Thank you bringing an expectation of excellence and victory to the Bronx. Thank you for making us proud to be Yankee fans.
Thank you for The Dive, The Flip, and Mr. November.
Thank you for 5 World Series championships.
Thank you for the great moments we’ll be replaying forever. Thank you for the brilliant finale at Yankee Stadium, for showing us then how much this game has meant to you, for celebrating a victory just as happily as would have on your first day on the field.
Thank you for the class, the dignity, the perseverance, the heart, and the respect that you have offered to America’s pastime.
Thank you for inspiring thousands of young ballplayers to wear #2.
Thank you for showing up everyday, for refusing to cut corners, for never taking anything for granted, for striving to be your best, and for running out every ground ball just like the high chopper that would be your 3,465th and final hit.
Now you are beginning the next stage of your professional life, and your potential is as expansive as the view from for the triple deck at Yankee Stadium. We are sure you will approach each new goal with the same dedication and perseverance that you brought to every game. Of course we wish you the best and know you will succeed. All we can say is thank you. It’s a lot easier than saying goodbye. AN